Diaphragm movement before and after cholecystectomy: a sonographic study

Anesth Analg. 2001 Mar;92(3):755-61. doi: 10.1097/00000539-200103000-00038.


Respiratory disorders after abdominal surgery are commonly explained by changes in diaphragmatic movement that are difficult to demonstrate and quantify. Our aim was thus to quantify these changes using a noninvasive method. We used M-mode sonography for the prospective study to measure diaphragmatic amplitude in 14 patients before and after cholecystectomy. During quiet breathing, the diaphragm inspiratory amplitude (DIA) was significantly decreased after surgery from 1.4 +/- 0.2 cm to 1 +/- 0.1 cm and from 1.6 +/- 0.3 cm to 1.2 +/- 0.3 cm in the Laparoscopic and Open Cholecystectomy groups, respectively. The total time cycle of diaphragmatic motion decreased significantly in the two groups. The DIA also decreased significantly during deep breathing after cholecystectomy from 6.0 +/- 0.8 cm to 3.0 +/- 1.8 cm and from 6.1 +/- 1.3 cm to 3.1 +/- 1.6 cm in the Laparoscopic and Open Cholecystectomy groups, respectively. The six patients who underwent spirometric examination showed, during quiet breathing, a significant decrease in DIA without change in tidal volume, i.e., 0.51 +/- 0.08 L to 0.45 +/- 0.08 L. We found a significant decrease in DIA after cholecystectomy and a significant interindividual correlation between DIA during deep inspiration and inspiratory capacity. Using M-mode sonography techniques, we were able to demonstrate changes in diaphragmatic mobility after laparoscopic or open cholecystectomy.

Implications: Cholecystectomy at times results in impaired respiratory and diaphragmatic functions. The techniques currently used to study these repercussions are both laborious and invasive. Our sonographic technique is completely noninvasive and can be used to study diaphragm morphology and movement in real time.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholecystectomy / adverse effects*
  • Diaphragm / diagnostic imaging
  • Diaphragm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Respiration Disorders / etiology*
  • Ultrasonography